20 June 2012

The post in which I admit I was a sucker - and that's TOTALLY OKAY

So, in the typing of a recent blog post, I went on Amazon looking for the kind of swaddle sack we use. You know, the kind that's pretty much a sack with velcro-enhanced wings that make swaddling easy? Well, anyway, I didn't find them, and was starting to get discouraged, when I found something else entirely.

Something awesome.

Something so cute it nearly turned my large ex-Marine coworker into a daffodil on the spot. Without him even seeing it.

So I bought it. I was suckered in by a cute advertisement.

I'm pleased to say, it was truthfully advertised.

I present to you the Lady-Baby-Bug:

I get it. I'm cute...

Now can I have my dinner?

19 June 2012

Two-month Post-Launch Report

Getting some hands-on time with the Eleanor
The Eleanor launched just over two months ago to rave reviews, and - as your management representative on the inside1 - I bring you this Post-Launch Report:

Expert Reviews

Recent reports from the experts place the Eleanor in the top 10% based on all major market indicators (height, weight, head circumference). We couldn't be more pleased.

Edit: Sorry for all the formatting issues with the initial post. Last time I use the 'Interpret typed HTML' option in Blogger instead of adding the code directly.

I love my company

I was just told about this blog posting on our Inside BlackBerry Developer Blog, due to this tidbit:
Do you know what the output of this statement is?
Array(16).join("bacon" – 1337) + " Batman!";

I love working for a company with a sense of humor.

They do post the answer to that question, btw (I don't know Java, so I had to look for it). I put it under a Read More link, but that doesn't help if you were sent straight here, so scroll down for it.

18 June 2012

Diablo 3

A few weeks back (okay, a month back, but I started writing this two weeks ago and just got distracted...), this thing happened. This Diablo III thing.

I remember the excitement of playing the original Diablo "back in the day." Long hours spent navigating the catacombs of Tristram, slaying monsters and earning fat loots for my trouble. I remember dark corridors, weakly illuminated by flickering lights (and my own torch). I remember the soundtrack - music that very effectively added to the intensity of the game's artistic design - overlaid with occasional distant screams and the sound of gibbering hellions waiting for their opportunity to strike. I remember the pain of the Hellfire expansion, but playing it nonetheless, because - p'sh! - moar Diablo!

I played through Diablo II several times, and I remember enjoying the Druid and Amazon classes most. I remember the thrill of seeing the Secret Cow Level, and the agony of being slain by hordes of polearm-wielding bovines. I even remember the names of some of the bows I found (Magewrath and Windforce come to mind), and how excited I was to be able to use them in my quest to end Baal and Mephisto.

In short, this game series has provided a wealth of memories and hours upon hours upon even further hours of gameplay that kept me glued to my seat through multiple replays. The reason has always been the beautiful combination present within the game of single- and multiplayer potential.

I enjoy being able to sit down and relax playing video games (as you've no doubt gathered already), but there's more to me enjoying a game than just a good story or good gameplay. I can get those from a book or angry birds. What keeps me coming back to a game for years (see also: WoW subscriber from launch until earlier this year) is a solid system for encouraging and rewarding group play, while also allowing a rewarding single-player aspect, for times when I'm either not feeling up to socializing or when I can't find a group to run with.

This, to me, is what Blizzard got right with Diablo III. There are a ton of people complaining on the greater interspheres1 about all the things that are lacking, but what will keep me interested in this game for ages is that I can play all by myself and make progress, but when I want to play with others and have the opportunity, the game gets out of the way and makes it simple to do so.

Anymore, that's my criteria for a successful game. Single player-only games can be amazing, but I will quickly lose interest and move on to something that I can share with other people, not as an amusing anecdote after-the-fact, but as a shared experience.

It's my little slice of social interaction that allows me to remain a cave-dwelling hermit the whole time.

1 - Said complaints run the gamut from "the story is two-dimensional", "the real-money auction house is a moneygrab/sanctioned cheating/the end of the franchise (take your pick)", "always-connected DRM sucks" all the way to "I can't kill things the way I want to, so make the game easier" -

16 June 2012

Learning a new language

... nope, not Spanish. Not even Irish, though the Rosetta Stone that the Wife lovingly purchased for me last year for Christmas would surely love to be dusted off and used.


I'm a big ol' geek. I'm learning a new coding language (mostly for work projects, but at least 33% for fun). I've been going through the exercises at Learn Python The Hard Way, and so far, it's like C and QBASIC had a baby raised by COBOL.

My goal is to add Python to my list of coding/scripting languages in which I am barely literate within a few months. The current list stands at (in rough order of learning):

  • DOS
  • Windows Command Shell
  • C/C++
  • HTML1
  • T-SQL
  • Windows PowerShell
  • AutoHotKey
  • *sh (currently cygwin/bash, with a side of ksh - which is funny if you're familiar with ksh)

My favorite part of the classes so far? The exercise that has this as extra credit:
Find out what Zork and Adventure were. Try to find a copy and play it. 
And now, back to the books. I have code that I broke that needs un-breaking!

1 - I know, it's not technically a programming or scripting language, but it is a digital language that's come in handy on regular occasions, so I'm leaving it on the list. Programming purists, forgive me.

15 June 2012

Traveller Song Summer Shows!

My band, Traveller Song, has actual, real, honest-to-gourd shows this Summer. Plural! As in, three of them. More info on our ReverbNation site, and/or Facebook but here's the general gist:

  • 29 Jun - Abbey Underground in Denton @ 1900-2100
  • 28 July - Trinity Hall in Dallas @ 2030-0030
  • 18 Aug - Uptown Theatre in Grand Prairie @ 1800-2300 (with The Bilge Pumps and The Crew of the Pride of Bedlam)
Come see us! We like it when people do that!

Beer Cheese Soup

I've been asked by my darling wife to post my recipe for Beer/Cheese Soup, so here goes.

My source for this recipe was the Art of Manliness blog, but I modified the recipe after the first go, as I'm not a fan of small chunks in my creamy soups1.
Final Product

Dramatis Personæ

1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Flour
4 tsp Onion Powder
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 cups Beer2
3 cups Chicken Broth
4 cups Whole Milk
4 cups Sharp Cheddar, grated
4 cups Gouda, grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Crumbled bacon (as garnish)